What is a Barrier Skin Cream?

We’ve all got it. Whether it’s a drawer full, a medicine cabinet, a box in the closet or a bathroom counter littered with them, we’ve all got skin creams that we’ve bought in the past, used once and then discarded. There's no shame in admitting that you’ve tried something and it didn’t work. That’s the way we learn whether a cream functions well with our skin type or should have been better left on the shelf in the store. At Workman’s Friend we know a thing or two about skin creams, more specifically barrier skin creams. We’ve spent years researching, testing and sampling creams from all over the world. What we’ve learned is before you buy your next skin cream (and we can highly recommend ours) it’s important you know how they work and their benefits.

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What is the Purpose?

Let’s start by explaining the purpose of a barrier skin cream. Its primary function is to help your skin retain water, more specifically your skin’s outer layer or epidermis. According to scientists the most effective type of cream acts as a short-term shield that helps enforce our skin’s natural moisture barrier.

This type of lotion is also designed to protect against common skin irritants that can be found in a variety of products that you use at home or at work. Perhaps the most common irritant is soap. People who experience dry hands from using soap have what doctors call contact dermatitis. Symptoms include dryness, itchiness, irritation, and in more severe cases cracked and bleeding skin.

How to Choose a Cream?

When choosing a barrier skin cream make sure it contains ingredients that prevent water from leaving the skin’s surface. This might include glycerine, silicones, dimethicone, and mineral oil. Some products also contain synthetic lipids, or fats which are found naturally in skin. These creams help draw water into the skin and keep the skin moist.

A barrier skin cream such as Workman’s Friend is ideal because it does not contain fragrances that are notorious for causing skin allergies or irritation. Ingredients such preservatives are found in moisturizers that contain water and oil. They too can cause irritation.

Many creams make false claims to improve skin's flexibility, reduce wrinkles, or stretch marks. These types of products have yet to be proven to work. An important tip is to choose a product for its effect on skin's ability to function rather than for its beauty claims.

When to Apply a Cream?

To get the most out of barrier skin cream it’s recommended that you apply it before you begin any new activity or as soon as you’ve stepped out of a bath or shower. Make sure your skin is dry before you slather it on. For example, if you’re about to plant flowers or start a new craft project apply a thin layer of cream to protect your hands while you work. Then when you’re done, wipe or wash your hands and apply a second layer.

One More Application

Perhaps the biggest lesson we’ve taken from our work in developing Workman’s Friend Barrier skin cream is don’t be fooled by high price tags and popular brand names. Don’t let them convince you that one cream is better than another. Just because one cream works for your friend doesn’t mean it will for you. Talk to your dermatologist about what creams they can recommend. Remember, a simple layer of an odourless cream is all it should take to protect your skin’s barrier so you can get on with your day and activities.


Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream is light-weight and odorless product. A simple application of our non-greasy, formula means your hands will be moisturized and protected from common irritants.
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